The skill of remaining focused and in the moment is an often overlooked and under trained element of endurance sports. 

As Kristen Dieffenbach Ph.D. points out, focus can be the difference between making that crucial breakaway in a race or being at the front of the bunch for that key moment where the group splits. If you're switched off and let yourself get distracted, it doesn't matter how fit you are compared to the next guy.

This is why strong athletes with a great functional threshold power and great watts per kilogram don't always win the race. 

Focus is a crucial race skill that can be trained and worked on just like any other element of fitness.

Try using some of Kristen's suggestions in your next long ride and start training your mind as well as your body.